Facet disease symptoms

Facet disease, also called arthritis of the facet or facet joint syndrome, is the gradual deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the facet joints of the spine. There is a facet joint on either side of each vertebra. These joints allow the vertebrae to articulate and hinge freely, giving the entire spinal column its ability to bend and rotate.

Facet joints are surrounded by cartilage and a sac of synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. Gradually, the aging process, in addition to factors like obesity, gender, genetics and disease, causes this cartilage to degenerate, which can lead to a variety of facet-related issues described in the following article. Read on to learn more about this debilitating condition and the treatments available to help you find lasting relief.

Facet disease and bone spur formation

As facet disease causes the joint cartilage to wear away and adjacent vertebral bones to grind against each other, bone spurs may begin to develop. Bone spurs, which can develop in the joint space or along the end plates of the vertebral bodies, are extra growths of bone that can come into contact with nearby spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself. If this occurs, the following symptoms may present:

  • Tingling, numbness or weakness due to compression
  • Joint stiffness or spontaneous joint lockage
  • A sensation of bone rubbing against bone
  • Pain originating from the joints or facets
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Inflammation of the joint

Can facet disease be treated?

Many patients find that they can manage their symptoms nonsurgically with conservative treatments. These might include yoga, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, pain medication, chiropractic manipulation, hot/cold compresses and intermittent periods of rest. However, if your pain and discomfort do not go away after several weeks or months of these conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute.

We offer minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ To treat facet disease, our board-certified surgeons+ perform a facet thermal ablation most often in conjunction with a decompression to relieve painful nerves in the facet joint, through the use of a laser. Find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery by reaching out to our dedicated team today and asking for a free MRI review.*